Downtown San Luis Obispo became a scene of political activism Sunday when more than 100 protestors surrounded the courthouse to demonstrate against Proposition 8, the general election initiative measure that would ban same-sex marriage if passed in November.

The protestors, many from gay and lesbian alliance organizations including the Cal Poly Pride Alliance, gathered to show their opposition to the initiative, which they say would be a step backward for California.

“If this measure passes, it will be the first time that discrimination has been written into the California constitution,” said Michael Beck, president of the Central Coast chapter of the Gay and Lesbian Acceptance organization.

“It’s the right step for California to take,” said Danielle Dykeman, a Cuesta student and member of Student Activists for Equality, or SAFE. “We’re seen as the liberal standard in the country, and if this measure passes, it will set a dangerous precedent.”

Supporters of the initiative argue that Proposition 8 is crucial to protect the definition of marriage, which they say is solely a union between one man and one woman, according to the Yes-on-8 campaign’s website, protectmarriage.com

The protest started off with several speakers from various organizations, all of whom asked the audience to get involved to help keep the proposition from passing.

“I’m proud to say that you’re part of one of the greatest civil rights movements our country has ever seen,” Beck shouted to a cheering crowd. “Proposition 8 is just a small hurdle we must face.”

After the speeches, the group marched down Monterey, Higuera and Marsh streets, carrying signs and chanting “No on 8” before reconvening on the courthouse lawn.

Most of the protestors then went to work a phone bank at the San Luis Obispo branch of United Staffing Associates.

“We’re trying to educate people on what Proposition 8 is really about,” industrial technology senior Thomas Maxham said. “There’s a lot of crazy propaganda going around; people are saying that this measure will lead to other things, that it’s a slippery slope, but that’s just not true.”

Same-sex marriage has been legal in California since June 17, 2008 when the California Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage took effect.

Opponents hope that with enough action on their parts, the measure will not pass.

“This was one of our most successful events, a lot of students got involved and there was a lot of coverage. We will make sure this proposition won’t pass,” Beck said.

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